How Much Does Water Main Line Repair Cost?

by Matt Schmitz
replace water sewer line

That pothole in your driveway that turned out to be caused by a leaking underground water line had you bracing for the worst. But when it turns out that the pipeline running underneath your property needs only a small leaky section repaired versus a full replacement, you can consider yourself fortunate. While there’s still a lot of wet work ahead, the job probably won’t run your bank account dry. According to HomeServe data, the average cost to repair an exterior water service line totals just over $1,000 — considerably less than one-third the cost of a replacement, which’ll run you nearly $3,600 on average.

This May Also Interest You: What's an Exterior Water Service Line?

Several variables will go into the calculation of what you’ll ultimately pay for your exterior water line repairs. First off, don’t forget to factor in an average $222 diagnostic fee — as the contractor you call almost certainly will charge you to show up and determine what’s wrong and how to fix it. Moreover, it’s likely that the problem will be the result of a combination of factors — it’s clogged, has multiple leaking sections or is otherwise compromised — and that, in turn, will necessitate a combination of solutions carrying their own individual costs. Taken together, those costs figure into the national average, but keep in mind that your final price will also vary based on where you live.

A Word on Water Lines

Your exterior water service line is the sort of thing you likely don’t even realize exists until something goes wrong. An exterior water service line carries water from the public main into your home. The path water takes to get to your faucet has three major components:

  • The water distribution main that connects to the larger community water supply, owned and maintained by a local government entity
  • The public water service line, a portion of the service line that belongs to the local government, runs under public land and is, thus, publicly maintained
  • The private water service line, which brings fresh water from the main line into your home through an underground pipeline, and is maintained by you, the homeowner, starting at your property line
graphic visualization showing a cut-away of a home exposing its rooms and home systems specifically focused on the water service line

What’s the Problem?

Common reasons you experience trouble with your exterior water service line include:

  • Pipe aging
  • Corrosion
  • Ground shifting
  • Extreme temperature swings
  • Fallen trees
  • Tree roots
  • Clogs
  • Careless digging or too-forceful yardwork
  • Earthquakes
  • General wear and tear
  • Lack of maintenance

Signs of Trouble

In other words: Your water line, despite being buried under the soil, is still susceptible to damage. Here are some of the things that can happen when your water service line is compromised:

  • Dirty, rusty or bad-smelling water
  • Unusually high water bills
  • Puddles in the front yard
  • Soggy, wet patches that don’t go away on their own
  • Damp spots on floors, walls or ceilings
  • Mold
  • Low water pressure
  • Potholes or sinkholes in your driveway or sidewalk
  • The sound of running water, constant dripping, a delicate stream or even a softly babbling brook, even when none of your water-using appliances are in use

What Needs to Be Done?

Unfortunately, repairing your water service line isn’t a DIY job, so you will need to call in the professionals. Work done by whomever you hire to fix the problem likely will include:

  • Excavation to expose the pipe
  • Pipe repair
  • Clearing blockage
  • Fitting external valves
  • Fusing
  • Welding
  • Pipe cutting
  • Locating a leak
  • Backfilling

Don’t assume your homeowners insurance will cover the cost of repairs. In most cases, it doesn’t, so this is an expense you’ll want to be prepared for. Because your water line is buried underneath your lawn, one of the biggest expenses contributing to the total repair price is going to be digging it up.

What’s This Gonna Cost?

To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your water service line repairs, HomeServe has calculated the average costs, both nationally and state by state, for comparison. In order to determine what’s wrong with your system, you’ll have to call someone out to diagnose the problem, which comes with its own cost. We’ve calculated that average, as well. The depth of your pipes has a bearing on cost, so we’ve listed the average depth here, too.

For a broader look at water service line expenses, check out our cost guide covering pricing averages for both repair and replacement state by state. And for a deeper dive into what factors into how much you’ll pay to get your water service line replaced outright, go to our state-by-state replacement cost guide.

Below, you’ll find the average costs for water service line repair in your state, plus the average depths the water lines are buried. All figures are based on aggregated HomeServe data reported by our network of thousands of contractors across the nation. Where insufficient data was available to determine a verifiable average, we’ve noted so.

(At the time of this publication, another factor dramatically driving up costs was pandemic-precipitated materials shortages, impacting home maintenance, repair and construction sectors across the board; those supply-chain issues are generally expected to be temporary and are not reflected here.)

Nationwide

  • Diagnosis: $222
  • Repair: $1,039
  • Service Line Depth: 4.58 feet

State by State

1. Alabama

  • Diagnosis: $126
  • Repair: $721
  • Service Line Depth: 2.49 feet

2. Alaska

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Repair: Insufficient data
  • Service Line Depth: Insufficient data

3. Arizona

  • Diagnosis: $190
  • Repair: $742
  • Service Line Depth: 2.82 feet

4. Arkansas

  • Diagnosis: $230
  • Repair: $931
  • Service Line Depth: 3.67 feet

5. California

  • Diagnosis: $168
  • Repair: $865
  • Service Line Depth: 3.17 feet

6. Colorado

  • Diagnosis: $152
  • Repair: $797
  • Service Line Depth: 6.16 feet

7. Connecticut

  • Diagnosis: $150
  • Repair: $972
  • Service Line Depth: 7.32 feet

8. Delaware

  • Diagnosis: $152
  • Repair: $1,020
  • Service Line Depth: 4.45 feet

9. District of Columbia

  • Diagnosis: $98
  • Repair: Insufficient data
  • Service Line Depth: 4.00 feet

10. Florida

  • Diagnosis: $179
  • Repair: $742
  • Service Line Depth: 2.53 feet

11. Georgia

  • Diagnosis: $287
  • Repair: $713
  • Service Line Depth: 3.08 feet

12. Hawaii

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Repair: Insufficient data
  • Service Line Depth: Insufficient data

13. Idaho

  • Diagnosis: $195
  • Repair: $1,151
  • Service Line Depth: 4.95 feet

14. Illinois

  • Diagnosis: $159
  • Repair: $854
  • Service Line Depth: 5.26 feet

15. Indiana

  • Diagnosis: $143
  • Repair: $889
  • Service Line Depth: 3.83 feet

16. Iowa

  • Diagnosis: $184
  • Repair: $861
  • Service Line Depth: 5.97 feet

17. Kansas

  • Diagnosis: $126
  • Repair: $937
  • Service Line Depth: 4.68 feet

18. Kentucky

  • Diagnosis: $150
  • Repair: $1,100
  • Service Line Depth: 3.75 feet

19. Louisiana

  • Diagnosis: $199
  • Repair: $799
  • Service Line Depth: 3.81 feet

20. Maine

  • Diagnosis: $170
  • Repair: $612
  • Service Line Depth: 5.00 feet

21. Maryland

  • Diagnosis: $112
  • Repair: $1,020
  • Service Line Depth: 5.11 feet

22. Massachusetts

  • Diagnosis: $158
  • Repair: $1,171
  • Service Line Depth: 4.79 feet

23. Michigan

  • Diagnosis: $208
  • Repair: $978
  • Service Line Depth: 6.07 feet

24. Minnesota

  • Diagnosis: $174
  • Repair: $901
  • Service Line Depth: 8.27 feet

25. Mississippi

  • Diagnosis: $241
  • Repair: Insufficient data
  • Service Line Depth: 2.52 feet

26. Missouri

  • Diagnosis: $126
  • Repair: $924
  • Service Line Depth: 5.15 feet

27. Montana

  • Diagnosis: $206
  • Repair: $780
  • Service Line Depth: 5.64 feet

28. Nebraska

  • Diagnosis: $92
  • Repair: $274
  • Service Line Depth: 5.80 feet

29. Nevada

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Repair: $715
  • Service Line Depth: 3.50 feet

30. New Hampshire

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Repair: $1,254
  • Service Line Depth: 5.00 feet

31. New Jersey

  • Diagnosis: $123
  • Repair: $855
  • Service Line Depth: 5.04 feet

32. New Mexico

  • Diagnosis: $188
  • Repair: $998
  • Service Line Depth: 3.96 feet

33. New York

  • Diagnosis: $137
  • Repair: $1,039
  • Service Line Depth: 5.02 feet

34. North Carolina

  • Diagnosis: $205
  • Repair: $834
  • Service Line Depth: 3.89 feet

35. North Dakota

  • Diagnosis: $198
  • Repair: $474
  • Service Line Depth: Insufficient data

36. Ohio

  • Diagnosis: $268
  • Repair: $935
  • Service Line Depth: 5.76 feet

37. Oklahoma

  • Diagnosis: $138
  • Repair: $973
  • Service Line Depth: 2.90 feet

38. Oregon

  • Diagnosis: $185
  • Repair: $964
  • Service Line Depth: 4.05 feet

39. Pennsylvania

  • Diagnosis: $159
  • Repair: $964
  • Service Line Depth: 4.62 feet

40. Rhode Island

  • Diagnosis: $195
  • Repair: $937
  • Service Line Depth: 6.00 feet

41. South Carolina

  • Diagnosis: $308
  • Repair: $687
  • Service Line Depth: 2.68 feet

42. South Dakota

  • Diagnosis: $153
  • Repair: $866
  • Service Line Depth: 6.30 feet

43. Tennessee

  • Diagnosis: $195
  • Repair: $830
  • Service Line Depth: 3.07 feet

44. Texas

  • Diagnosis: $211
  • Repair: $859
  • Service Line Depth: 2.93 feet

45. Utah

  • Diagnosis: $94
  • Repair: $789
  • Service Line Depth: 4.16 feet

46. Vermont

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Repair: $1,240
  • Service Line Depth: 4.00 feet

47. Virginia

  • Diagnosis: $209
  • Repair: $1,062
  • Service Line Depth: 4.58 feet

48. Washington

  • Diagnosis: $243
  • Repair: $968
  • Service Line Depth: 3.18 feet

49. West Virginia

  • Diagnosis: $252
  • Repair: $1,058
  • Service Line Depth: 3.88 feet

50. Wisconsin

  • Diagnosis: $123
  • Repair: $876
  • Service Line Depth: 6.82 feet

51. Wyoming

  • Diagnosis: $164
  • Repair: $737
  • Service Line Depth: 6.37 feet

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